April 2017 Archives


Police who charged a Connecticut man with the murder of his wife are citing electronic evidence, including data from her Fitbit fitness tracker.

Richard Dabate, 40, told police he was unable to stop a masked intruder from shooting and killing his wife after she returned home from an exercise class more than two years ago. But his timeline of events didn't match Fitbit and computer records, the Hartford Courant reports.


Read more....

Apple offering free classes at all 495 of its stores - CNET

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Turns out Apple isn't too cool for school. 

The company said Tuesday it would launch educational sessions globally with seminars called "Today at Apple." The free program will be open to the public and include more than 60 different classes on topics such as art, design, coding and photography.

The sessions will kick off worldwide in May at all 495 Apple's stores.


Read more here about the free classes to be taught by "Creative Pros"...

County of Santa Clara v. Donald Trump | Standing (Law)

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Lawyers: Here's How To Untether From Your Smartphone | Above the Law

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While it may seem counterintuitive, my Watch has limited the constant influx of information and thus reduced my reliance on my iPhone. It's become an integral part of my life and if I inadvertently leave the house without it, I almost always turn my car around and head back to get it. It also provides innumerable conveniences that make it worth its weight in gold on a daily basis.

Here's why I rely on my Watch so much. These features make my Watch indispensable.


Pogue's Basics: How to forward a text message

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In a previous "Pogue's Basics" tip, I let you know that you could report cellphone text-message spam by forwarding it to 7726.

"Well, great," one reader wrote, "but how do you forward a text message!?"

Find out how here...

Caricature of William Ballantine. Caption read...

Caricature of William Ballantine. Caption reads "He resisted the temptation to cross-examine a Prince of the blood". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



It's not often that you'd consider the old school, white-wigged English barristers and chatbot technology in the same sentence, but Stephen Ward, a career barristers' clerk and founder of clerk-oriented technology company Clerksroom, took his interest in developing technology and turned it back on his own job.

Billy Bot is a chatbot that can interface with members of the public about some of the same preliminary legal questions that barristers' clerks often handle. "This really is a natural development from building case management systems and online payment portals. We're looking at new ways to automate old-fashioned practices," he said.


Read the entire article about Billy Bot here...

NYSBA | May 4 - 7: Spring Meeting/Awards Dinner-Criminal Justice Section

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The Criminal Justice Section is holding its 2017 Spring Meeting at the Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls from May 4 - 6.  More information about the meeting, including how to register, can be found at www.nysba.org/CJSSpringMtg2017.  

Networking Highlights:  
Thursday - Seneca Falls Walking Tour and Welcome Reception
Friday - CJS Awards Dinner and Cocktail Reception
Saturday - 25th Annual Cayuga Wine Trail Wine & Herb Festival

On Friday, there's also an optional tour of the Willard Drug Treatment Center & former asylum (very limited availability).  

Educational Highlights:  

Judicial Diversion Courts
Court of Appeals Update, featuring the Honorable Jenny Rivera of the Court of Appeals
Dram Shop & Handling Alcohol Related Arrests

This is a great opportunity to learn more about some of the diversionary options to incarceration and can be quite helpful to your practice if you handle criminal matters.  

Following these steps can help you save time and money by making the switch to paperless.

By Richard Hugo-Hamman

How can you bring your family law firm into the 21st century and go paperless? Here are five practical tips to help you make the transition.


IRS Provides Tips on Determining If It's Really The IRS At Your Door

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 Is that Really the IRS at Your Door?

The Internal Revenue Service has tips on IRS.gov to help tax pros and taxpayers determine if a person visiting their home or place of business is legitimate or an imposter.

Law Professionals | Animal Legal Defense Fund

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund has numerous resources for law professionals interested in the field of animal law.

  • ALDF provides comprehensive resource guidance to individuals interested in teaching animal law, including casebooks, sample exams, sample syllabi, articles of interest and networking opportunities
  • ALDF partners with pro bono coordinators interested in developing animal law volunteer opportunities at their firms
  • ALDF works with bar association members interested in forming committees and/or sections that deal exclusively with animal law
  • ALDF provides access to our resources and expertise, including model laws, pleading summaries, research tools, and blog
  • ALDF provides grant opportunities for animal law related litigation
  • Read more here...

Internal Revenue Service Webinar Registration Page

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May 3 Webinar: Working with the IRS Office of Appeals

Register here to watch "Working with the IRS Office of Appeals -- What to Expect," a free 90-minute webinar, scheduled for May 3 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Topics include the role of Appeals, an overview of Appeals policies and procedures, and an outline of procedures for examination and collection cases.

Certificates of completion will be offered. Earn one continuing education credit in Federal Tax.

Documenting Hate - ProPublica

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ProPublica, in partnership with 38 other news organizations and civil rights groups (including The Guardian, WNYC, and PBS NewsHour, to name just few), recently launched Documenting Hate, a project that collects stories of hate crimes and bias incidents. As the project notes, there is currently "no reliable data on the nature or prevalence of this violence." Individuals who have experienced or witnessed hate or bias are invited to share their experiences via the Tell Your Story section of this website. Visitors are prompted to answer a variety of questions about the incident, including the type of incident, where the incident occurred, and why the victim(s) were targeted. While visitors must provide a name and contact information to complete this form, the project notes that it "will not share your name and contact information with anybody outside our coalition (of newsrooms) without your permission." Meanwhile, reporters may gain access to data and story leads by providing their information on the Get Involved page. There is also a well-developed Resource page for those who have experienced hate crimes and bias incidents. [MMB]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu

Coffee Shop Lawyers, Public Wi-Fi Is Not Your Friend - Technologist

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 14, 2017 6:00 AM

Lawyers, equipped with mobile devices to draft legal documents and email them, are meeting with clients at coffee shops across the country. This phenomenon is nothing new, at this point. But we're repeating the story because attorneys are still using public Wi-Fi networks, despite the potential legal and ethical liabilities. 



Updated: Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam of the New York Court of Appeals was found dead Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River after her husband had reported her missing.

Abdus-Salaam, 65, was the first female Muslim judge in the United States and the first female African-American to serve on New York's top court, the New York Times reports. Several other publications have stories, including the Washington Post, the New York Daily News and the New York Law Journal(sub. req.).

Police reported no signs of trauma on the judge's body and are treating the death as a suicide, according to the Times. The investigation was continuing, however.

Read entire report here...

Richard Susskind, "Upgrading Justice" - YouTube

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The Internal Revenue Service is sending letters to a relatively small group of taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies.

The new program, enacted by Congress, enables designated contractors to collect, on the government's behalf, unpaid tax debts. Usually these are unpaid individual tax obligations that are several years old and not currently being pursued by IRS collection employees.

Read more here...

Now Comes Another Keyboard Designed Just for Lawyers--Law Sites

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Earlier this year, I wrote about the LegalBoard, a computer keyboard designed specifically for lawyers. Little did I know what that post would provoke. As I later wrote on Above the Law, never in my 14 years of blogging had I seen the legal world react to a new product as it did to the LegalBoard.

Well, hold on to your seats, because now there is another one, called Citepad. This one, however, is not a piece of hardware, but rather is software. And, for now, it works only on Macs, although versions are in development for Windows and iPads.


Citepad will sell for $49.99 regularly, with a limited-time special introductory price of $39.99. You can get a free trial or purchase it here.

Read Robert Ambrogi's complete review here...


A con man is exploiting a loophole in public records access to target South Florida real estate lenders and landowners.

Based on little more than his charm, a fake driver's license and forged corporate documents altered on a government-run website for $50, he posed as a Boca Raton doctor and walked away with $550,000 from hard-money lenders in Fort Lauderdale.

People involved in the transaction say he spoke at length about his real estate holdings, didn't flinch when questioned, and was so convincing that when a private detective later inquired about the deal, lenders were suspicious of the investigator, not the fraudster.

"Next thing we know, we found out this person isn't who they said they were," said Alain Villar, the independent mortgage broker who originated the deal. "The person who went to the closing was not really the owner."

It was too late.

Read entire report on this fraud...

Immigration 2017 | Emergency Preparedness for Families

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Free CLE Program and Webcast for NYSBA Members 
and Co-Sponsoring Organizations
During the Presidential campaign and post-election, President Donald J. Trump indicated that he would implement significant changes in U.S. immigration law centered on an "America First" platform. On January 25th and 27th, the President signed three executive orders "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements" and "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." The executive orders led to litigation in several federal district courts nationwide.
This panel will address a few of these sweeping immigration changes, their impact on families currently residing in the United States and in what capacity the legal profession may be able to meet the needs of immigrant families proactively through family safety planning. Panelists will discuss how to walk a family through a safety plan in a way that will maximize its effectiveness and provide an overview of various custodial and guardianship arrangements for children, both temporary and permanent.  Efforts by legal services providers and the private bar to meet the challenges immigrants face in this new environment will also be discussed.
If you are unable to attend in person, this program will also be recorded and streamed as a live webcast.
Program Topics
Overview of Drastic Immigration Changes that Impact Families 
Increased Need for Legal Representation in the Face of these Changes
Click Here to View the Program Agenda 
Program Panelists
Honorable Anthony McGinty | Ulster County Family Court
Deborah S. Kearns, Esq. | Albany County Surrogate's Court
Sarah Rogerson, Esq. | Albany Law School
Alima M. Atoui, Esq. | Albany County Surrogate's Court
Gerard Wallace, Esq. | Director, NYS Kinship Navigator 

Click Here to Learn More about the Program Panelists 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017  
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
New York State Bar Center
One Elk Street | Great Hall | Albany, NY

2.0 MCLE Credits in Professional Practice
This is a transitional program suitable for newly admitted and experienced attorneys.
Learn More and Register Today  
Presented by the New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the  
 in conjunction with The Legal Project - Capital District Women's Bar Association,  
Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee,  Liberty Defense Project,  Albany County Bar Association,  Empire Justice Center,  Albany Law School, NYSBA  President's Committee on Access to Justice, NYSBA Committee on Immigration Representation, NSYBA Committee on Legal Aid, and the NYSBA Committee on Continuing Legal Education.

Congressional Republicans Kill FCC ISP Privacy Rules - TidBITS

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Patricia Salkin--Law of the Land:

A federal court in New York entered a consent decree on November 23 resolving allegations by the United States that the City of Port Jervis, New York, violated a church's rights under RLUIPA when it changed its zoning code to ban places of worship in two zoning districts where they were previously allowed as of right.  The order resolves a lawsuit brought by the United States in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after the Goodwill Evangelical Presbyterian Church entered into a contract to purchase property within one of those zones to use as a church.

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